Tag: weekly miles

Ode to Big Cottonwood Canyon …

I love Big Cottonwood Canyon. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a million times on this blog. The proximity, scenery and elevation drop is bar none. Well, I shouldn’t say bar none, because Little Cottonwood Canyon, American Fork Canyon and even Emigration Canyon can give it a run for its’ money. But, when it comes down to it all, Big Cottonwood Canyon is the one that’s getting the last rose.

I’ve been looking forward to this past weekend’s run for WEEKS! And, I mean WEEKS! So when I threw my back out last Monday I was nervous I’d have to skip this run. But, I did some slow miles, lots of stretching and core work to help strengthen that back. All that fun stuff.

But, I really didn’t want to miss this run — besides, I was the one who set it up in the first place. It’d be like not showing up to your own party. Luckily, I made it! And, there was a great turnout.

Most of us met at the Park n’ Ride at the mouth of the canyon at 6:30am before carpooling up. There were a couple other groups that either went at 5:30am (sooooooo early) and a few later than the main group. It was a lot of fun to get everyone together and social offline.

I wasn’t sure what mileage I wanted to do — with the factors of my back, recent race schedule, future race schedule and the like — I kinda decided somewhere between 8-10. That seemed like a good number. But, I didn’t really decide until I got to the Park n’ Ride when my friend Camille said she was doing nine miles. That seemed liked a good comparison (smack in the middle), plus I always like running Camille.

At 6:45am we jumped in the car and carpooled up the canyon. We dropped off a few at 8 miles, but the rest of us went up the extra mile. After a little more stretching of the back we headed down the canyon back to our cars.

For the first couple of miles I kept up with Camille pretty good, but I was slowing down. Part of it was my back, but it was more of a combination of my tired legs and this being my first downhill run of the year. I knew my speed wasn’t going to keep me up with Camille so I sent her ahead.

After Camille left I just plugged in my music and just zoned out. I focused not necessarily on my pace, but just not walking. I had to walk a couple stretches — not out of fatigue, but I just didn’t know if it was icy (there was actually only one sketch stretch that was icy). The last thing I needed was to fall with my back.

Even though I wasn’t as fast as I wanted — I didn’t really care. I’ve been ultra training all winter so of course I am going to still be rather slow. After the Salt Flats 50K I’ll have more time to do some speed work — speed work that will focus on doing really well at the Revel Big Cottonwood Half in September. If you’re wondering — that’s the goal. There’s a lot that will and is going into that training, but that’s a post for another day.

Anyways — the nine miles down were beautiful as ever. The beauty of this canyon is breathtaking and is one reason I love running it. Whether it’s the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half, Drop13 Half or the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon — I hate missing those races, because they’re fast and gorgeous.

I am not able to run the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half again this year, but I am excited because they have a trail series of half marathons starting this year. They’ve had smaller distances, but not the half — until this year. There are three throughout the summer and I am signed up for the one in August.

I can’t wait!

Seriously, the excitement is ridiculously high.

I really enjoyed the run. It was great being around so many great friends. I absolutely love the running community, especially here in Utah. There are so many runners who inspire and motivate me to do my best. I feel extremely lucky and blessed.

Moving onto next week — I have my 25K next week on Antelope Island. I’m rather giddy about this one for a few reasons — one, IT’S TRAIL and, two, IT’S TRAIL! I get to break out my Trekking poles, douse myself in bison repellant and enjoy an aid station full of M&M’s, salted potatoes and Nutella tortilla wraps.

Trails speak my language.

Plus, I have a number of friends running the 100 and 50 miler so I might stay for a little after my race to encourage them along. The dangerous part about doing that is the more time I spend watching these amazing runners tackle 100 miles — the more it makes me to tackle that distance too.

I’m crazy, but am I that crazy?!

Please don’t answer that.


Weekly Review

It was a tough week for miles. After throwing my back out on Monday at the Dentist office — the week was used stretching out the back and doing lighter workouts. I got about five miles of sloooooow miles in during the week. Just enough to keep my back lose.

I was worried about being able to run the group run, but manage a good — but, slow — 9 miles down Big Cottonwood. I didn’t want to overdo it because of my race this weekend out on Antelope Island. I am running the Buffalo Run 25K. I’ll be on my feet for a while during that race — so, the focus is this week will be lower mileage and continuing to stretch my back out.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 14.0 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 21.97 miles
TOTAL MILES — 35.97 miles
Races this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 17.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 41.3 miles
TOTAL MILES — 71.9 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Antelope Island 25K.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 133.65 miles
Race Miles — 83.02 miles
Walking Miles — 189.53 miles
TOTAL MILES — 406.2 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half and March Madness Half.

I tried to convince Dave to get this shirt. But, he declined. At least for meow. #walmartventures

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It’s National Dentist Day … naturally, I’d be celebrating it here. #nationaldentistday

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Sadly, none of these dispense cotton candy. #nationaldentistday

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More miles going around in circles …

I’m kinda ready for this winter thing to pass. Seriously. Being regulated to treadmill and indoor track running is starting to make me slightly nutty.

Well, okay, that wasn’t what made me nutty. And, that’s a whole post for another day. There’s simply no time to explain that all today.

Anywho … I’m just ready for spring. I don’t run outside in the snow or in below freezing temperatures — there’s too much risk for me to biff it (which I am known to do). My body really doesn’t do well in the cold anyways — so staying inside is best for me. For now. But, I am really itching for some spring weather.

Since last weekend’s long treadmill run was an emotional disaster for me. I decided the treadmill was out for my long run. I’ve survived a few two miles run. But, I just don’t feel like I have 15, 10 or 5 miles on the treadmill in me.

I just don’t.

I didn’t have a specific distance or time goal for me this weekend. Should I have? Good question. But, since race day is about three weeks away, I knew I needed somewhere around 10-20 miles. But, after already have a number of 20 and 15 mile long runs — I felt like I could afford a long distance run based on feel.

Since I was anticipating the first weekend in February to be rather cold and snowy — I decided to run at the Olympic Oval again. Running the Oval can be rather monotonous, but I actually really like it during the winter. You can lose yourself in the laps and just run. Much, much easier than running on the treadmill.

I really feel like I have to work to distract myself on a treadmill. On a track you’re actually going somewhere — granted in circles — but you are going somewhere. Plus, if you’re running with other people you’ve got actual conversation — which is the key to surviving track running.

A photo posted by (phat) josh (@fit.phat) on

Anywho … a number of running friends and I showed up at the Olympic Oval at 6am to run the track. The track was open from 6-10am in the morning because there was a track meet from 10am-1pm. Knowing this kind of ruled out a 20 mile run for me. But, I knew in the four hours or so I could knock out where between 13-15 miles.

So that was kind of the goal.

I wasn’t worried much about time or distance. Like all of my ultrarunning — I just wanted to do my best and focus on effectively using the time on my feet to it’s best use. So I loaded up my Spotify playlist with my music and just decided to go for it.

The track was rather busy, besides being joined in the morning with Robert Merriman, Jimbo, Karen, Tine and others — there was a big ROTC training or testing going on as well. A good hundred or so cadets were on the track doing a mile and high testing. I wasn’t envious. It really reminded me of my mile and a half training in Junior High.

Not fun.

But, I had good conversation throughout the four hours. I spent a few laps with everyone and it was just fun to catch with them. It really made the time go by faster than usual.

I ended up cranking out 13 miles in three and a half hours. I felt good throughout the run. I felt stronger than my last run there. And, I think part of that is my diet. I have felt quite the difference the past couple of weeks. Especially this past week as I eliminated a few extra foods. But, I will post more about that later this week.

Anyways — I have the Sweetheart Days 5K next Saturday. I am running that with my niece. I am pretty excited to run it with her. This will be our second 5K since October. I might run 3-5 miles more at an easy pace to amp the miles up. But, we’ll see — I am hoping the weather is good so I can just do those miles outside. And, if that’s the case — SCORE!

But, with the Jackpot Running Festival in a couple of weeks I am just focusing on tapering a bit and just focusing on my workouts and diet. Since it is a timed race I am not worried about finishing, but I would like to run at least 35-40 miles in the allotted 12 hours. And, like my diet, more on all of that later this week — maybe even next week?

I am just getting excited to run and get into the swing of my spring races. It should (and by should, I mean it will) be a lot of fun.

So, um, my 5 year old niece adults better than me. #calliekoko #adultchild

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81.0 miles


13.1 miles


89.47 miles


183.57 miles

Jackpot Running Festival

As I mentioned above my current training is pointing toward the Jackpot Running Festival in Las Vegas over President’s Day weekend. I am being joined by Jill for an epic ultra adventure. I seriously, I can’t wait.

This is a looped course. It’s a 2.38 mile loop around Railroad Lake — just outside of Henderson. Both Jill and I are signed up for the 12 hour race — meaning we have 12 hours to run as many miles as we want/can. Our goal is to not just run an ultra, but we want to get at least 35 miles in. I’d like to see if I could push 40 miles. But, we’ll see about that.

Anyways — we got an email this past week from the race with a video of the 2.38 looped course. It’s not the sexiest video out there on YouTube, but it got me really excited for the run. I have no doubt I will get to know the course quite intimately.


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RACE #132: St. George Marathon

Back in 2012 when I started marathoning I ran three marathons in three months. I thought I was nuts (I was). I never thought I would be in a situation again where I would be doing that many marathons not just within three months, but within four weeks.

That’s crazy … to at least me. I know there’s nothing special about it — there are many many many more impressive feats by much much much better runners than me than three marathons in four weeks. And, that’s not hard to find. But, considering that about 1% of the world’s population have ran a marathon — I’ll relish in that accomplishment.

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Anyways, the purpose of running so much — is basically to help in the training for my 50 miler. My training plan called for a number of 27 mile training runs — and instead of tackling these runs solo, I just decided to run a marathon instead of those runs.

And, why not? I get a fully supported “training run” with a t-shirt and medal to boot? Plus, I can run with my friends. Seemed like a win-win to me. And, they have been.

I’ve tried to focus on at least 1 or 2 aspects each marathon to help with my ultra training. The Big Cottonwood Marathon was time focusing on time on my feet — which was pretty much a given since I was sweeping the course. The Huntsville Marathon I wanted to simply trash my legs during the first 13-18 miles so I had to grind hard to crank out the last part of the race sore and tired both physically and mentally.

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Going into St. George I wanted to do the opposite of my Huntsville Marathon goal. I wanted to start out conservatively and then finish off the race strong. And, to measure that — I basically wanted to be able to finish the race without relaying on the Marathon Death Shuffle and feeling like I still had some gas in the tank to keep going.

They might seem like strange goals for a marathon, but the more I’ve delved into ultra training I’ve learned the importance of conservative starts. And, I’m not talking about a 1-2 mile conservative start, but like a 8-10+ mile conservative start. Because in an ultra you want enough energy in the tank to rely on at mile 35, 40, 45 and so forth. So I wanted to use this marathon as the training ground for a conservative start and my last looooooong training run before my 50 miler here in three weeks.

I’ve always loved the St. George Marathon. It was supposed to be my first marathon back in 2012, but not wanting to wait for the lottery I ended up signing up for the DesNews Marathon. But, I’ve ran it twice before and I just love it. Love, love, love it.

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I love it for a number of reasons. I love the course. It’s challenging. It’s fun. But, oh my heavens, it’s beautiful! From Central to Veyo to Snow Canyon to St. George — I feel like I am constantly in awe of the scenery around me. Plus, the organization is top notch and always fun without any major glitches.

Plus, you’re running towards St. George with 7000 other runners. It seems like you’re always running into a friend along the course. It’s just a fun festive environment. Pretty much the Super Bowl of running here in Utah.

The logistics around the marathon were for a quick trip and to not make a weekend of it. So, I carpooled down with some friends of mine — namely Martin, Sara and Doug — on Friday morning. We got to the race expo around 2pm to pick up our race packets. I stuck around for a few hours at the Runtastic booth helping give out shirts and registering people for the upcoming Haunted Half races.

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My friend Kevin — and former trainer — and former mission buddy — met me at the expo later that afternoon and I stayed at his place that night before carpooling to the bus stop. Kevin was actually my first trainer when I started my weight-loss journey and is the one I hold responsible for my running obsession. I remind him often that he’s the one that challenged me to run a 5K — and now look what he’s done.

I have a lot of respect for Kevin. Anyone who’s met him knows he’s just a genuine good guy. But, he’s tenacious with his goals. He’s been training to try to BQ the past several years with no success. But, that hasn’t stopped him. He keeps getting back up and trying again — I admire that quality in him.

And, even though he didn’t reach that goal again on Saturday, I admire his attitude and perspective about this attempt and his subsequent attempts. I have doubt that he’ll reach his goal. His example has been a great example to me and how I approach and tackle my goals.

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Anyways — after carpooling to the buses and taking the ride up to Central (aka The Starting Line) I hung out for a couple of hours before the race started. I was a little worried it was going to be cold up there like years past. But, to my delight — it wasn’t that bad. So I just kind of mingled for a while trying to work up the need to use the restroom before the race.

Because of construction in Veyo the marathon start line was done in waves. So the wait was rather long before I finally crossed the starting line. I wasn’t complaining because that helped me get in two extra bathroom stops. Plus, I liked the spread out crowd at the starting line — it wasn’t super congested like it has been in the past.

To still avoid the crowds and to get some “trails” in during my race I ran on the side of the road. Not the shoulder, but a little dirt trail that ran alongside the road. Runners were probably looking at me strangely, but I was in heaven — I was getting my trail fix in and avoid any mass congestion.

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After it thinned out I returned to the road and ran alongside my friend Christy before running into my Facebook friend Jessica and her husband. She was running her first marathon and was hoping to run into me because we hadn’t met yet. We ran a good 4-5 miles together right before Veyo where we parted at an aid station.

I was still going rather conservative with my pace and was planning on doing so up Veyo. I knew if I tried to beast my way up Veyo I would pay for it in the later miles. That happened to me in 2014 when I pretty much cramped from miles 8-12. I was determined for that not to happen again this year.

So, I trudged up Veyo with Christy we stayed together for a couple of miles before parting at an aid station. Feeling good I wanted to pick up my speed a bit. It wasn’t really in my race plan, but I felt a need to redeem those miles from 2014 “Crampfest” fiasco.

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Feeling good I just let my body dictate the speed. I just didn’t want to walk — both for the pride of not stopping, but also in fear that if I did — I would cramp. I did stop a couple of times — one, to use the restroom and, two, to take pictures of a tarantula that was making its’ way across the road. I ended up seeing three of them during the race. Nope. No thanks. But, still better than running into a deer in my books.

Once I crested the uphill climb after Veyo I took the next couple miles fairly conservative before turning towards Snow Canyon. That’s when I started picking up my speed — knowing the course would be mainly downhill towards the city. Being armed with a killer playlist and killer view — I just put myself into cruise control and enjoyed the ride.

The great thing about having ran a number of marathons the past few weeks the miles seem to pass by quickly. They literally seem to melt by step by step. There were a number of miles — specifically between miles 16 and 22. There were a couple of miles that went so fast I could have sworn the course was marked wrong. But, that’s not because I am some fast or amazing runner, it’s probably a better testament of my ability to distract myself more than anything.

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I was waiting to see if I was going to hit a wall. I was expected to hit it eventually. But, after miles 19, 20 and 21 passed I was really feeling good. But, then I hit it somewhere at mile 22. It wasn’t so much my legs giving out or the lack of energy, it was just hot. I felt like I was running inside an Easy Bake Oven.

And, on top of that I was trying to do math on how close I was getting to the 1pm cutoff at mile 23. I knew I was going to be close, I felt like I was going to meet it, but I wasn’t sure. And, asking me to figure the numbers while out running a marathon is asking a bit too much from me. Especially considering I was never a good math pupil in normal circumstances.

But, once I hit that wall I just kept going. I prayed for a little wind and just focused on keeping my feet up and myself going forward. Once I hit the mile 23 aid station and the bridge I knew I was safe. It was a great feeling even if I had more than 10 minutes to save. I heard they gave a little variance to that cutoff — presumably because of the Veyo Hill construction and starting line wave start. Either way I was just excited to be hitting the last 5K of the race — I just wanted to be done.

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Of course the last three miles were tough. But, during the marathon these are some of my favorite miles. Normally, I am not a fan of running around neighborhoods during races, but this is different. The marathon is very much a part of the community and the community gets behind it. They come out in droves to cheer on loved ones and strangers alike — and I love it.

There are also a number of impromptu aid stations along these miles. People are handing out Otter Pops, popsicles, ice, water, candy, fruit, etc., etc., etc. I love it. I love seeing so many of these citizens getting behind the race and helping out us marathoners during some of the toughest miles of the race.

I have to laugh about it now, but I got handed a popsicle at mile 24 and ate it like without any difficulty. Not wanting to just throw it on the ground I stuck it in my headband so I could throw it away at the next aid station. Well, I forgot about it and ended up running the last couple of miles with this stupid popsicle stick in my headband. I’m pretty sure I got a couple of great finish line pictures looking like a fool.

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Anyways, as I wended my way to the finish line I was feeling strong. I was sweating buckets and ready to down ten gallons of water, but I was feeling like there was gas still in the tank. This gave me a surge of confidence and helped me keep my legs up — avoiding the dreaded death shuffle.

As I crossed the finish line I was feeling a number of emotions — sore, tried, humbled, thirsty, proud, happy, hot — name it, I was probably feeling it. But, of all those emotions I was thankful for what I was able to do. This was my tenth marathon and each has provided a blessing and lesson. Because of that I will never take them for granted.

It was such a sight for sore eyes seeing my friend Wanderley at the finish line giving out medals. He was the perfect person to be there handing out medals. He is such a cheerleader and embodiment of what a runner should be. He is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I was humbled getting my medal handed to me by Wanderley.

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In retrospect — I met all of my goals. I do wish I was a little faster. I finished in 6:24, but considering the conditions of the last half — the heat was no joke. But, standing at the finish line I felt like I had gas in the tank and the death shuffle didn’t manifest itself at all during the race (after the race is another story).

But, I felt proud of myself and what I accomplished. Plus, I feel more prepared and ready for my 50 miler, which is the whole reason why I was running this race and the other two marathons so close together.

I am ready to tackle this 50. Now for a couple weeks of tapering before finally tackling this beast. I can’t wait.

133 - park city red rock relay

I am pretty excited about this relay. I know I’ve talked a lot about it — but, this is going to be a special relay. I am going to be running this on a team of other Addict II Athlete runners — my AIIA Family. Some of us our veteran relay runners and some of us newcomers. But, either way it’s going to be a great experience and a fun way for me to spend my taper miles.

I am going to blog a bit more about this later this week. Plus, I am going to be sharing my story on the Addict II Athlete Podcast here either this week or next. So stay tuned for all of that. But, I can’t wait for the Red Rock Relay this weekend!

134 - pony express trail 50 135 - haunted half provo136-mt-view-trail-half




230.5 miles


287.7 miles


1150.6 miles


1668.80 miles


998.20 miles

2017 race schedule

I’ve been working on my race schedule the past couple of weeks for the upcoming year. And, I swear it’s been tougher than years past. Not sure why?

Well, it could be with the pull I’m feeling to run more trails — but, also the desire to stick to half marathons next year. Plus, there are just a bunch of great races here in Utah that I just want to run.

Oh so many decisions.

Plus, a number of races are opening registration this week and I am going to have to make some decisions, especially with the ones offering killer early bird deals.

Anyways, here’s what I have planned so far — or what I am thinking of running so far …

139-new-years-half 140-st-george-half 142-march-madness-half 143-antelope-island-buffalo-run 144-emigration-canyon-half 145-tulip-festival-half 146-ironman-13147-vigor-bc148-ogden149-wasatch-back-ragnar150-drop-13-bc151-bear-lake-idaho152-bear-lake-wyoming153-bear-lake-utah154-af-canyon-race-against-cancer155-canyon-to-canyon-half156-des-news-half157-timp-half158-utah-midnight-run-provo159-utah-midnight-run-legacy158-skyline-mt-half-marathon161-nebo-half162-revel-bc-half163-park-city-trail-series164-haunted-slc165-haunted-half-provo166-mt-view-half-marathon167-saltair-half168-thankful-134

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Monday Morning Runner

It was a weekend of ups and downs for me. Luckily it was more of an up than a down for me. But, more on that later. I ran the Beat the Heat 5K with my friend Jordan on Saturday. This was Jordan’s first 5K and quite the accomplishment for him. I shared a good portion of his story on Friday, but Jordan has cerebral palsy so running doesn’t come naturally or easy for him.

But, Jordan is a warrior. A man of no excuses. He’s never let cerebral palsy be an excuse for him in doing what he wants in life. That’s why it was an honor to run with Jordan. I’ve always looked up to him and his ‘do whatever it takes’ mentality. It’s infectious and inspiring.

The race was along the Legacy Parkway Trail starting in Woods Cross. So fairly close to where I live. I have come to really appreciate and like the Legacy Racing races. I ran their March Madness Half Marathon back in March and I loved it. They’re small, but fun and very personable. Gordon and his wife do a great job taking care of the runners and the timing system — they’re speciality. That’s one of the reasons why I felt this would be a great race for Jordan and I to run.

The run was great. It wasn’t as hot as I thought it might be. I knew that would change so I came prepared with a backup water bottle for Jordan. I knew I would be fine with the aid stations. I am glad that I brought the water because it did get rather hot, but that didn’t stop either us from doing what we set out to do.

I was brought of Jordan — as I always am. He was tough on him. The palsy affects more of his left side and we had to slow down a number of time when his left leg wanted to go into a cramp. Which was fine. This was his first 5K — so no matter how fast he finished — it was a PR!

On our way back to the pavilion and finish line I wanted to make sure Jordan understood what he was doing and how he was an example to many — not just for those with disabilities, but any and every runner. Seeing Jordan cross the finish line was a great moment.

I sent him ahead of me, mainly so I could take a picture of him crossing the finish line, but also so that he could have that moment. And, he had a moment. I still can’t tell you how proud I am of him. He was glowing. And, already talking about doing more races.

He’s addicted.

I know we have some more training to do, but Jordan is also talking about doing a half marathon eventually. I told him I’d be there with him. And, knowing Jordan — he’ll do it.

I can’t stop saying how proud of Jordan I am.

Anyways — look for more updates on Jordan’s running adventures. I really want to do another 5K with him before the end of the year. I have my sights on some of the Santa Runs and possibly a Thanksgiving one? Oh so many options.

Moving onto this week — lots of miles on the dock. I am planning a couple big mileage — walking wise — days along with my 20 miler this weekend on the treadmill. I am still trying to figure out what day I am going to do that because I will be out of two over the weekend (and then my birthday on Monday!).

So stay tuned for more on that later this week!



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I don’t talk about this much, except for those who are close to me. But, I deal with anxiety. It runs in the family. There’s nothing about anxiety that makes sense to me. It happens when it happens and I just deal with it.

Running has helped curb a lot of that, but it didn’t eliminate completely. And, for some reason I had an unwarranted panic attack this past Saturday. A lot of it came from my preparedness for my 50 miler in October — but, more so my 20 miler this weekend and my three marathons next month.

I’m not even going to try to make sense of my warped thought process. But, I just felt inadequate. I felt unprepared. And, I let my emotions get the best of me. Not fun. 

The one thing that helped change that mentality was when I started going through race pictures of Saturday’s race. I saw a different person in those pictures. But, it was me. Comparing it to my race pictures just five months ago — they were completely different people. 

The stark difference told me — I am ready. Well, not completely ready. I still have a BUNCH of running to do between now and October. But, I am more ready than I give myself credit for. And, I need to remember that. 

Training for this 50 miler has been tough, because it’s been more than just progressing from marathons to the 50 miler. It’s been working on constructing a new me. It’s been redoing my running base and building myself back up. It hasn’t been easy — I wouldn’t expect it to be.

But, I have come a long way. And, I will be ready come October.

Anxiety comes and goes. It’ll never make sense to me. But, when it hits — I just have to take a backseat for a moment and give myself more credit and encouragement than the anxiety ever will. Anxiety will never keep me from what I want to do in life — it just makes things more interesting. 

The focus though is still on October! 50 OR BUST, BABY!




166.1 miles


192.9 miles


929.39 miles


1288.39 miles


1378.61 miles

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RACE #125: Utah Midnight Run

I’ve said this a lot the past week — but, I’ll say it again. It’s kinda hard to believe that I’ve ran 125 races in my 180 race goal so far. I’ll be celebrating the fifth anniversary of the beginning of this little journey this weekend when I run the Handcart Days Half. Not only was that my first half marathon, but it was my 100th as well. So, naturally, it has a special place in my heart.

But, really, it’s hard to believe five years has now passed. It’s been quite the journey and one that still has many, many more races left to run. During my race on Friday night I actually looked back at each race — like, each and every race from 1-124. It was kind of fun (and a good way to pass the time in the dark of the night) and a good reminder of the ups and downs I’ve experienced along the way.

I’m just so grateful for the gift that running has been in my life. Whenever I hit milestones — big and small — like race 125 or date of certain races, I would be remiss if I didn’t look back. I’ve been extremely blessed by the people that have come — or ran — into my life. And, it’s those relationships that keep me going.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

But, enough of that — one or two more paragraphs of that and I’d expect us all to start holding hands and singing kumbaya. Let’s get onto the race and my experience this past weekend.

I have ran the Utah Midnight Run five years in a row now. I like this race. It’s a fun race and a different change of pace, mainly because it’s a night race. And, it frees up a rare Saturday morning. Plus, On Hill Events does a good job at it. There are a few other night half marathons around here in Utah, but by far the best are the ones put on by On Hill Events.

Despite running this race often, it’s still a hard race for me to prepare for. Especially fueling up correctly. You’d think I’d have it down to a science by now — but, nope. In the past I’ve tried eating normally, not eating for 6-8 hours before fueling (to simulate sleeping and then eating light before the race) to just eating light throughout the day. I haven’t found anything that works 100% for me, because I either over do it or under do it.

This year was probably somewhere in the middle?

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

I wasn’t so worried about my Whole30 diet, but the timing of eating and amount of food I should be eating. So on Friday I ate mainly fruit and veggies throughout the day. I also ate some steak for lunch for some protein. But, nothing heavy or overly complicated. I just tried to make sure to eat every 2-3 hours and focus on eating my fruits and veggies.

And, like I said, it kinda worked. I probably could have eaten more to be honest.

But, going into the race my goal wasn’t a PR or benchmark race. I was using it as a training run — with effort. Which for me meant anywhere between 2:45-3:00 for that distance. But, I wasn’t holding myself to that time goal as a maximum or minimum. I just wanted to be out and run with friends and have fun.

The race is a point-to-point course the packet pickup and finish line are in Farmington and the half marathon runners get bussed to North Salt Lake to start there. So, I went extra early to pick up my bib and to also record an episode of the Runcast USA with Jim who was also volunteering at the race. It was a good episode and of course lots of fun (it will air this upcoming Friday by the way).

A photo posted by Josh Runs 180 (@joshruns180) on

I nearly missed the buses because our episode ran right to the minute the buses were starting to roll out. Luckily, I didn’t miss the bus or race. That would have been a total buzzkill for the night.

The race started at 10pm so we spent about an hour at the starting line. Instead of the usual sunrise like most races, we got treated to a killer sunset. Not only that, but killer mosquitos as well. Thankfully, we were provided with bug spray by the race. Otherwise I’m sure I would have been sucked dry.

When the gun sounded and we set off I started running with my friend Tish. We ran for the first couple of miles together at a pretty good clip. It’s always nice to have someone to run with. It sometimes is the make or break of a run.

About 2-3 miles into the race we came upon my friend Jason who was somewhat hobbling. He was pacing the 2:20 group, but bowed out after his back started spasming. No beuno. He biffed it at a race a few weeks ago because it spasmed so I stayed with him for a couple miles until we could get him to an aid station — and eventually his wife, Tammy, who was volunteering.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

By the time Jason was taken care of — I was pretty much in the back of the pack. Or — the caboose. There was 1-2 other runners behind me, so I kinda became the defacto sweeper. Oddly, there wasn’t a sweeper for the race — a role Tim and I had last year.

I didn’t walk the whole thing — in fact, I got some great stretches of running between runners. It was nice. I’d check up on them and then just run my race. I didn’t care that my time was going to suck. But, it definitely didn’t reflect my effort and performance. The race was more of a fartlek than a run to be honest.

I did start to cramp up a bit around mile 10 — not sure why? I think part of it was fueling. I was drinking water at every aid station, but I definitely should have ran with a banana for the mid-way point. And, I started to get a headache. Not a normal headache, but the ones that eventually turn into a migraine.

No beuno.

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on

To counter that I just sat at an aid station a bit longer and drank a couple more cups of water. Some Advil would have been nicer, but I wasn’t sure if I was a bit dehydrated or not fueled properly? Probably both? But, my headlamp was also kinda tight so I readjusted that. After that I was fine. So odds are I was just cutting off oxygen to my brain? Wouldn’t be the first time.

It was a few minutes after 1am that I ended up crossing the finish line. After getting my medal I headed right to the water and bananas — naturally. I ate a couple slices of banana, but really couldn’t stomach it at the moment (sad, I know), so I took some with me for the ride home.

My time didn’t record and I didn’t really look at my time, but I think I ran somewhere between 3:10-3:20. Not bad for the stops throughout the race. I got a good workout in and good stretches of running — really the only thing I needed.

But, also, I got some GREAT fatigue training. When I was running with my headache I kept thinking — “okay, just push through this, this probably will be nothing compared to what you’ll encounter at your 50 miler.” I really tried to revel in the moment of misery and discomfort, because I know I’ll encounter that a lot more in the next few months leading up the 50 — in my training runs and marathons.

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

Anyways — race 125 is done! I am happy with my experience. It definitely wasn’t what I was expected to experience. But, at the same time — I wasn’t really expecting anything going into it. So, I got what I prepared for, right?

The focus this week is get some good balance of training runs and circuit training. I am planning a good workout focusing on my core tonight. That’s something I KNOW I need to do better at. Plus, I’m prepping for my double race weekend — Handcart Days Half (Saturday) and DesNews Half (Monday).



126 - bountiful handcart days.fw127 - desnews half.fw

I’ve got a double race holiday weekend coming up this weekend. Not to be confused with a back-to-back race. I am basically running a half marathon on Saturday and Monday. I am running the Handcart Days Half Marathon (Bountiful) on Saturday morning and then the Deseret News Half Marathon (Salt Lake City) on Monday.

Both races hold personal significance to me. The Handcart Days Half was my first and 100th race — and this Saturday actually marks the 5th anniversary of my first half marathon. Kind of a special milestone. And, then the Deseret News Marathon was my first marathon four years ago. Though I am not running the marathon, the race still holds a special place in my heart.

So lots of personal milestones for me this upcoming weekend.

But, I also have to wonder why in the heck I picked July races for my first half marathon and marathon? Seriously. I remember how hot both of them were and how much I wanted to die after them.

Regardless, I am really looking forward to the DesNews Half — this is a fun, fast course. I am not expecting to PR. But, I want to do well. So, I might slow it down a bit at Handcart Days to save some energy for Monday morning’s race. I really kinda, sorta, maybe want to break 2:30. That’s the goal. Just putting it out there.

I know I can do it.

Anyways — that’s the focus this week. But, I’m just excited for a great weekend of holiday running. I love Pioneer Day. And, I love these two races.


128-timp half.fw 129 - Run Elevated Half Marathon 130 - Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon



Okay, we were going to post this last week before the servers over on PodBash crashed thanks to an awesome day of listening (really this is a good problem to have).

This has pushed back the Runcast to July 29th. Why two weeks? Because, “Are We Prepared, Yet?” will be returning next Friday (July 22nd) to the Friday circuit. Schwendy and I recorded this past week — and it’s a good episode. I’m excited to launch it next Friday.

But, give listen to the newest episode of Addict II Athlete. This is a great story. And, please if it strikes a chord with you — share it. You know never know who you are going to inspire to make the change they need to make in their life.


My second round of @whole30 is DONE! This go around I lost 10.8lbs! Not bad. That’s a total of 28.6lbs the past two months that I’ve lost. Or an average of 14.3lbs. per month. That’s good! I won’t lie, I was trying to not let the number on the scale affect my feeling of progress. A part of me REALLY wanted to be out of the 250s. But, it is what it is. This is a result of work and dedication and I’m fine with that. Every loss isn’t going to be a Biggest Loser record. But, 10.8 is really great when on average about 8 is on average (2lbs per week). So I am still above average, which is good! I am going to do one more round of @whole30 that will take me to my birthday on August 15th. I’m going to work hard in the next 30 days, because I’d love to see at least another 10lbs if not more. The goal is 10lbs., but I’m pushing for 12.7lbs so that scale will read at least 239.9 on my birthday. My mileage will be going up the next month in my ultra training and I’ll be adding in some more circuit and strength training. I’m going to give this a go! But, I am happy with these results, maybe not initially but the numbers don’t lie when they show the whole picture. And 28+lbs in two months is HUGE for me. I haven’t had a loss like that in years. That feels good. And, the pictures don’t lie. I’m looking good! #whole30 #round2 #day30 #complete #weighin #scale #weightloss #fitness #health #wellness #progress #weightlossjourney @whole30 @josherwalla @fight4phat

A photo posted by @fight4phat on

My young apprentice. #proudunclejosher #calliekoko

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on



152.6 miles


150.5 miles


860.7 miles


1163.8 miles


1503.2 miles

A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on

[DEEP BREATH] … the fun and madness is about to go into full swing!

First off — Happy 7 Eleven Day! Happy Slurpee Day! This is truly a holiday worth celebrating. But, oddly, I am not this year. Unless there is a sudden change of rules, Slurpees are not on the Whole30 diet. Which is such a shame. Especially considering it’d probably make it the most popular diet in America.

But, alas, it is not — for obvious reasons.

So any of my Slurpee drinking friends out there — please have one for me today, mmkay?

I had a remarkably fun and meaningful weekend — with not much running. It was spent mostly with family. My niece got baptized on Saturday and so we spent the day with family and her. I probably could have gotten a run in, but I didn’t worry about it for a number of reasons.

  1. I was where I needed to be — with family and my niece.
  2. I was upping my mileage this week anyway — so I’d get a good run in on Monday anyways.
  3. I dealt with some sore calves most of the week and probably needed the rest.

I won’t lie — there was slight panic missing a run and having a low mileage run week. But, you know what? It is what it is — and I am moving on. You’re going to always have a bad week or miss a run — and as long as it’s not a habitual thing … it’s okay. I’m going to be okay.

I am going to have a good week of running though — not only do I have the Utah Midnight Run this Friday, but I am planning on doing a couple of double run days. Why? Mostly for fatigue training. But, also to motivate me to run in the morning. And, the best way to motivate me, is to challenge me.

Sooooo — I am planning on running 2-3 miles in the morning and then 2-3 miles in the evening. Along with my daily walking miles (ie-commuting, errands, walking during lunch and mowing the lawn). On those double run days, I’m hoping to get around 10 miles of running/walking.

I just want to focus on being on my feet a lot more. Especially, during the day. Having a desk job kills that goal a lot of the times. But, if I am going to be running a 50 miler — I need to be on my feet a lot more than just 5-7 miles a day. It’s gotta be more.

Anyways — odds are by the time you read this I’ll have had my first run of the day done already (if not I’ll need a better alarm). So I am not worried. But, I know I was where I needed to be and with who I needed to be with. The last thing I want to happen is my running to take precedence over family and God.

But, that’s a post for another day.

Sooooo — it’s time to really dig down and get to work. I’ve got the diet part down (that’s actually working!), so now it’s just putting the miles in, enjoying the journey and getting where I want to be.

And, I know where I am right now — I’m pointing in the right direction.


50 Mile Training Plan

I have 16 weeks left until my 50 miler! First off — YIKES! Second off — YEAH! It really is a mixbag of emotions, but more than anything — I am ready to rock the run. I wouldn’t be doing it if I felt like I couldn’t do it.

I have shared my training plan before — but, with the recent changes to my race schedule I’ve had to adapt it some. At least for my long runs. Which is fine. It wasn’t a lot of changing — thankfully. I’ll just have to get creative for my long run over Labor Day weekend since I don’t know where I’ll be running — odds are it will be trails.


My weekly runs range from 2-3 runs between 2-5 miles. The closer I get I’ll be doing some more double run days or evening-morning runs to work on fatigue training. My focus is also working on the core and flexibility so I’ll be doing some circuit training throughout the week as well. I’ll probably blog more about that later?

These are my weekend long runs (with other races listed as well) …

July 15: Utah Midnight Run
July 16: Neighborhood (5 miles)
July 23: Handcart Days Half Marathon
July 25: Deseret News Half Marathon
July 30: Timp Half
August 6: Beat the Heat 5K + 12 miles (Legacy Parkway)
August 13: Midnight 20 Mile Treadmill Run
August 20: Big Cottonwood (12 miles)
August 27: Run Elevated Half Marathon + 7 miles
September 3: Somewhere in Idaho (8 miles)
September 10: Big Cottonwood Marathon
September 17: Huntsville Marathon
September 24: Emigration Canyon (8 Miles)
October 1: St. George Marathon
October 8: Red Rock Relay — Park City (13.85 miles)
October 15: Frightmares 5K + 5 miles
October 21-22: Pony Express 50 Mile Trail Run

My August 20th and September 24th runs are planned group runs — so if you’re interested in coming let me know and I’ll send you an invite. But, I am excited to get into the swing of things. I am training deliberately — especially with runs that would be tough for me mentally and physically.

That is why my 20 mile training runs are designed to be TOUGH. I am running one (August 13) starting AT midnight on the treadmill. I am going to wake myself up that morning at 4am and either run or workout to make my day long and fatigued. Because, I want it to be tough.

Then on my second 20 miler (August 27) I am running Run Elevated Half Marathon and then adding on another 7 miles after the race. I am going to give my body about 30-60 minutes of rest — just to get sore and stiff enough and then I’m getting back out on the roads to get the extra miles in.

Then of course having three marathons in four weeks will be tough in its’ own right.

But, I am excited. I need these challenges! I want these challenges!

Anyone else training for marathons or ultras this fall? How do you mentally and physically prepare yourself? I’d love to hear back from you.


There were some problems with the PodBash servers last week — mainly the system crashed. Which is a great problem to have! The Radio Ronin program is the highest listened to show and is posted on Thursday — the day before the AIIA and the Runcast. It was such a heavily listened to show the system went down.

It took well into Friday to fix the problem and get the servers back up that we decided to just wait until next Friday to post the episode. And, believe you me — you will not want to miss this one. It’s awesome. I get a sneak peek listen before it’s posted — and Coach Blu does a smash up job!

Anyways — come back on Friday for another episode of AIIA. Runcast will have another episode coming out on July 22 just in time for the Pioneer Day weekend.


Just a boy and his Papou. #chubbingtatum #papou

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on



145.6 miles


137.4 miles


831.66 miles


1114.66 miles


1552.34 miles

A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on

RACE #122: Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back

RAGNAAAAAAR!!! What a fun and wild weekend. What a fun and wild week! Not only did I have RAGNAR this weekend, but this week was full of family weddings, parties and festivities. My little brother got married on Thursday so most of the week was spent prepping for that.

Since I had to be ready by 4am to ride up to Logan on Friday night — as soon as I got home from the wedding reception I had to switch gears and get ready for RAGNAR! It was 11pm once I ran to the store and picked up my food — then I quickly packed everything up as quickly as I could, because I knew I needed SOME sleep that night. Especially considering that I wasn’t expecting much the following evening.

Well, the goal of SOME sleep turned into like an hour and a half. I got packed alright — though I was afraid I was forgetting something. It helps this being my fourth RAGNAR. So I knew what to pack for my legs, etc. But, I was just wired from the wedding and most my time in bed was spent wide awake. Not cool.

With whatever sleep I got I got up at 3am, showered, fed and out the door around 4-4:30am. I wasn’t riding in van two so I didn’t HAVE to be in Logan at that time, but my ride was in van one so I hitched a ride and hung out for a few hours in Logan with Chris and Lisa before we needed to trek down to Eden for the exchange.

The one thing I love about RAGNAR is meeting new people. Except for one year, I’ve never really known the people in my van before the race. And, I like it that way. I love meeting new people. It’s fun. The strangest of strangers can become some of the best of friends.

And, while I knew some of the teammates they were mostly all from Logan — so interactions were sparse and usually whenever they came down to races around SLC or Provo. So it was really fun to bond with them and of course we had a blast. Lots of inside jokes, lots of laughing — just a lot of fun.

There’s a lot I could write about from our team’s adventure, but for the sake of trying to explain numerous inside jokes and back stories, I thought I would focus more on my own legs and their back stories. Because, really, I think you could write a whole book of experiences about RAGNAR.

Anyways — here are my leg reports. But, first let me indulge myself in one more — RAGNAAAAAAAR!!!


Leg 11

I knew what I was getting myself into on this run — it was going to be hot and it was going to be hilly, especially in the last 1-1.5 mile of the leg. So when I got handed off the baton I saved my legs for that last stretch because I wanted to power up the hills.

Though I started my leg at about a quarter to 7pm — it was still pretty hot. And, after being in the car for most of the day it took me a while to get my legs behind me. So I just focused on running at a comfortable pace and just went. I started listening to my music on the leg, but about 2.5 miles into it — I ditched it. I just wanted to focus on the running.

I was getting passed fairly consistently along the whole route. When I first started running RAGNAR it always bugged me whenever I got passed. But, when I’m running my own race and doing my own thing — it doesn’t bug me any more.

Especially considering that RAGNAR started our team later than we should have started (that’s a whole different story) most of the runners passing me were from faster teams. So, of course they’re going to pass me.

But, the point of pride came when we hit those two up hill stretches. The runners that blew past me earlier were suddenly walking the hills. But, not me. I kept trugging along and beasted up the hill — passing three runners along the way. That validated my training and really gave me a sense of pride.

I was proud of this leg. I powered through it and gave it my all — pretty much all you can ask for, right? After my leg, I decided to livestream my leg review. You can catch it here …


Leg 23

Of all the legs going into RAGNAR — I wasn’t looking forward to this one. Not just because it was my longest run, but it’s a tough leg. I ran this leg a couple years ago when it was 11 miles long and it kicked my trash. I knew it what I was getting myself into — so at least I knew what to prepare myself for.

Still doesn’t make it easier.

Unlike the first time I ran this leg — I didn’t start at 2am. This time I started around 5:30am when it was relatively light outside. Running trails is much, much easier with some light so I was thankful for that. It eased a lot of the anxiety I had going into the leg.

The game plan for this leg was to just keep going. Great game plan I know. I just knew I was going to be tired and probably sore from the lack of sleep and being cramped in a van for hours on end. And, the hours leading to my leg — it was still the same game plan, because I was EXTREMELY tired.

I tried sleeping some between 10pm and midnight, but it just didn’t happen. And, having not gotten much sleep the night before or that week for that matter — I was zapped. I wasn’t looking forward to my leg at all.

When I got passed the baton at the exchange I just ran a nice slow and steady pace. I knew I couldn’t — and shouldn’t — press out too fast. Mainly because I wanted to save whatever energy I had for the miles later in the leg. I got passed quite regularly throughout the leg — actually I counted 43 runners. I passed one runner, but that was because they were tying their shoe. They eventually passed me too.

But, again — I don’t run RAGNAR for the kills.

Anyways — about 3-4 miles into the leg I just lost all energy. This affected me not just physically, but mentally as well. I just wanted to be done. I was tired, lethargic and starting to get a bit cranky. I got supported a couple times by the van — which helped a lot. I got a banana and plenty of water in me. Including a few Swedish Fish for the unsupported part of my leg. The spikes of sugar helped.

Throughout the leg I just kept each foot in front of the other TRYING to focus on everything besides running. I tried listening to some music, but that didn’t help — just made me more anxious. So, I just ran — and chatted with passing runners. Distraction helps me in these kind of moments.

As I was watching my FitBit for my mileage I noticed at the tail end of my run that I was running further than the advertised 9.7 miles. The leg was more like 10.5 miles — which was confirmed with two other runners who ran the same leg. I’m glad I didn’t know this until later into my leg, because if I knew it before hand I would have wanted to traded legs with someone who had a two mile leg.

I’m half joking about that one.

But, by the time I got to the exchange — I was worn out and just grateful to be done. I quickly switched out my clothes and looked forward to a quick shower and hopefully a nap. Which turned out to be a long enough nap (30 minutes) to delay a total collapse, but I cat napped throughout the rest of the day.

Here’s my livestream review of my leg …


Leg 35

This was an easy leg — obviously. Being 2.2 miles I was just eager to get to it, run it and just finish so I could get home and sleep for hours on end. My goal for this leg was to just run the whole thing. I knew it wouldn’t be the greatest pace, because of the fatigue– but, I didn”t care. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t stop and walk.

And, being only 2.2 miles — with a loss of 239 feet, I knew that was 100% doable.

And, well, I did it.

I started running at about 6pm which made it for somewhat hot of a run, but it didn’t bug me much — again, because it was only a 2.2 miles long leg. I just focused on getting the thing done.

I did pass a couple of runners — none of which were tying their shoes. And, none of which who passed me later on in the leg. This gave me a boost of confidence. As worn out as I was throughout the race, I still felt strong. I credit a lot of that to Whole30 and my new mentality (but, that’s a post for another day).

But, it wasn’t that bad of a leg and you can listen to my livestream review here …


As difficult and challenging as this year’s RAGNAR was for me — I still absolutely loved it. I had a great team and van — we had a blast. And, I was definitely spoiled. If you ever run with Chris and Lisa — they will ruin RAGNAR for you. They have the best set up — personal cubbies in the back, bag storage carrier on top of the car, power outlets galore throughout the van. It was perfect.

But, more than that — it was just fun to party with them, Lacey, Heather and Marvin. We had a lot of fun. As sleep deprived and exhausted as we were — RAGNAR was a lot of fun. It was bittersweet leaving the team when I got dropped off at home.

Anyways — I am already looking forward to Wasatch Back 2017! I totally want to run with Chris and Lisa’s team again (like I told you, they ruined me RAGNAR for me for life). I would love to run Vegas RAGNAR, but that’s the same weekend as Antelope Island 50K and Snow Canyon Half Marathon — not that I’m planning on running both (obviously), it’s just those have top priority over Vegas RAGNAR.

I am however running Red Rock Relay in Park City on October 8th and that one I am PUMPED about. This will be my first Red Rock Relay and I am running with the Addict II Athlete team. That’ll be a lot of fun. And, I’ll post more about that later this week.

But, I love relays because to me they’re what running is all about — RUNNING. FRIENDS. FUN.



I posted most of my Instagram pictures from RAGNAR on Sunday, but here are a few of my favorites from the weekend …

Gorgeous. #nofilter #ragnarwb #race122 #running @ragnarrelay @joshruns180 @fight4phat

A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on



135.95 miles


108.1 miles


742.54 miles


986.59 miles


1680.41 miles

123 - af canyon half.fw

I’m getting pretty excited about my race this Saturday — I love the AF Race Against Cancer. Not only is it an awesome race down American Fork Canyon (one of the most gorgeous canyons in Utah), but it’s also a great cause I strongly believe in. 100% of all race fees go to charity — that’s pretty awesome, eh?

My goal for the race is simple — I want to come in somewhere between the 2:30:00-2:39:59 range. I am not looking to necessarily beat my Drop 13 Half time (2:31:14) — just stick in that 2:30 range to continue to build up that stamina so I can work towards a sub-2:30 at the DesNews Half (July 25) next month.

Knowing the course — the canyon won’t be a problem, the last 3-4 miles can be difficult after coming out of the canyon. So I am going to have to pace myself on this race — especially in the canyon. If I have it in me around mile 10-11, I’ll go for it. But, I really want to pace myself and build up that stamina.

So with that said — I’m planning on running with my Garmin. This will be the first time in — ages. Well, over a year. I want (well, need) to be deliberate since I really want to sub-2:20 at Nebo in September.

But, with all of that — I am just excited to be running this race, especially on the #Run4Dith team. We have over 25-30 other runners on the team and we’re planning on wearing pink for our friend Meridith aka “The Dith” — who will also be running with us! That’s more exciting than just being on the team. It’s great having her out there running again!


A photo posted by Runcast USA™ (@runcastusa) on